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Israel Attorney General drops probe of PM Sharon campaign funding

[JURIST] Israeli Attorney General Menachem Mazuz [official profile] said Thursday that he had decided to close a three-year investigation into a campaign funding scandal involving Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon [official website], citing insufficient evidence. Sharon's son and close advisor Omri Sharon has, however, will be indicted on criminal charges including fraud, breach of trust, and perjury. Omri Sharon's parliamentary immunity will have to be lifted by the Knesset [official website] before a trial can go forward. He could face up to seven years in prison if convicted. The campaign funding investigation began following allegations that Sharon had been involved in setting up shell companies to funnel foreign donation to his 1999 campaign. Israel prohibits foreign funding of political campaigns. Sharon had denied any wrongdoing in the funding case, indicating his two sons alone handled financing for his 1999 primary campaign. Sharon and his sons still face an investigation into allegations that they received a $1.5 million loan from a South African businessman to repay alleged illicit contributions made during his campaign. Reuters has more. The Jerusalem Post provides local coverage.

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